This Interim Guidance for Outdoor and Take-Out/Delivery Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (“Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Outdoor and Take-Out/Delivery Food Services”) was created to provide owners/operators of outdoor and take-out/delivery food services sites and their employees and contractors with precautions to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 as outdoor and take-out/delivery food services sites reopen.
This guidance applies to all restaurants and food services establishments, including food trucks, and other food concessions. In regions that have not yet reached Phase 1 or are in Phase 1, such establishments may only operate by take-out and delivery. In regions that have reached Phase 2, such establishments may open outdoor spaces with seating for customers (i.e. dining and bar spaces indoors cannot open to customers), provided customers can be seated at tables that are appropriately distanced. Furthermore, restaurants with outdoor bar seating can open the area, provided customers can be distanced appropriately. Consumption of any dine-in food and/or beverage must occur at tables or bar tops in these outdoor spaces.
These guidelines are minimum requirements only and any employer is free to provide additional precautions or increased restrictions. These guidelines are based on the best-known public health practices at the time of Phase 2 of the State’s reopening, and the documentation upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently. The Responsible Parties – as defined below – are accountable for adhering to all local, state and federal requirements relative to outdoor and takeout/delivery food services. The Responsible Parties are also accountable for staying current with any updates to these requirements, as well as incorporating same into any outdoor and take-out/delivery food service operations and/or Site Safety Plan.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration are not aware of any reports that suggest that COVID19 can be transmitted through food. Therefore, adherence to NYS Sanitary Codes for food service establishments along with additional requirements identified as part of these guidelines are expected to be sufficiently protective against COVID-19.
On March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202, declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Community transmission of COVID-19 has occurred throughout New York. To minimize further spread, social distancing of at least six feet must be maintained between individuals, where possible.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.6, directing all non-essential businesses to close in-office personnel functions. Essential businesses, as defined by Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) guidance, were not subject to the in-person restriction, but were, however, directed to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH), and were strongly urged to maintain social distancing measures to the extent possible.
On April 12, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16, directing essential businesses to provide employees, who are present in the workplace, with a face covering, at no-cost, that must be used when in direct contact with customers or members of the public during the course of their work. On April 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.17, directing that any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering must cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance. On April 16, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.18, directing that everyone using public or private transportation carriers or other for-hire vehicles, who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering, must wear a mask or face covering over the nose and mouth during any such trip. It also directed any operators or drivers of public or private transport to wear a face covering or mask which covers the nose and mouth while there are any passengers in such a vehicle. On May 29, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.34, authorizing business operators/owners with the discretion to deny admittance to individuals who fail to comply with the face covering or mask requirements.
On April 26, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced a phased approach to reopen industries and businesses in New York in phases based upon a data-driven, regional analysis. On May 4, 2020, the
Governor provided that the regional analysis would consider several public health factors, including new
COVID-19 infections, as well as health care system, diagnostic testing, and contact tracing capacity. On May 11, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that the first phase of reopening would begin on May 15, 2020 in several regions of New York, based upon available regional metrics and indicators.
In addition to the following standards, both essential and non-essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining clean and safe work environments issued by the DOH.
Please note that where guidance in this document differs from other guidance documents issued by New York State, the more recent guidance shall apply.
Standards for Responsible Outdoor and Take-out/Delivery Food Services in New York State
No outdoor or take-out/delivery food service operation can occur without meeting the following minimum State standards, as well as applicable federal requirements, including but not limited to such minimum standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The State standards contained within this guidance apply to all outdoor and take-out/delivery food services in operation during the COVID-19 public health emergency until rescinded or amended by the State. The operator of the outdoor or take-out/delivery food service site, or another party as may be designated by the operator (in either case, “the Responsible Parties”), shall be responsible for meeting these standards.
The following guidance is organized around three distinct categories: people, places, and processes.